Hold Up — Don’t Quit The Day Job
What would you say if we told you that you could earn a living traveling the world? It is now easier than ever before to run a business from anywhere in the world. All you need is an internet connection and some perseverance. Crazy, right? But here are some things you should mull over before you quit your day job and hop on the next plane to Calcutta:
● These things take time. Don’t count on your business to fund your trip straight away. You may still need to do those beach bar shifts to earn a few bucks to pay for your adventures – at least to start with
● Online selling can be extremely seasonal – but this could be a perfect opportunity for you plan your travels. There will be fluctuations in demand throughout the year and sometimes these will be inexplicable. Spending half the year working to make seasonal sales, then basking in the sun for the other half sounds appealing, doesn’t it?
● Running a business isn’t all fun and games. If you want to learn the secret of how to travel and make money and afford to complete all of your bucket list dreams, then you need to put in a little work. After all, skydiving is expensive! If you’re not prepared to put the effort in, then you should probably polish your karaoke act
So, you’re rising to the challenge? OK, let’s move on to the nitty gritty of how e-commerce could help you bag the trip of a lifetime. Or even a life full of travel.
What Should You Sell?
The possibilities are endless: you can sell anything if there is a demand for it. Here are some ideas to point you in the right direction:
● Could you source products from abroad? Many travelers set up shop to sell stock sourced on their travels. Why not give this a go yourself? Make that trip to India a chance to find some eclectic and beautiful items to sell. Some merchants spend half the year traveling and collecting items to sell, while they spend the other half at home fulfilling orders
● Finding a product niche by always searching online shelves for out of stock but in-demand items, then meeting this gap in the market your offering, is an excellent way to make almost guaranteed sales. The world of dropshipping has opened doors for the new e-merchant-cum-traveler. Consider using Fulfilment by Amazon to see how you could sell with no inventory and no headaches
● You could sell your expertise or services on the go, and all you need is your laptop. The internet is all about knowledge exchange. Consider establishing yourself online and selling your expertise through webinars and podcasts – the best part is that with these digital jobs are that you could (theoretically) work while sipping Piña Coladas on the beach
Case Study: Death In Venice Gelato
Toronto-based ex-chemical engineer Kaya Ogruce was inspired by his backpacking trip around Italy. When he returned to Canada, he set up Death In Venice, a highly successful online store selling gelato in a range of weird and wonderful flavors.
Death In Venice’s quirky branding is the embodiment of Kaya’s experiences in Italy, and his wacky characters have been inspired by his experiences as a chemical engineer and trips abroad.
Traveling can be the perfect time for you to reflect and come up with a unique product to share with the world. Thai Peanut Soy Fish gelato, anyone?
There are many ways you can set up shop and start selling your products. In fact, there is so much choice that you may feel overwhelmed. Don’t be – here are some of your options:
● If you have a bit of time or money on your hands, you could invest in an open source e-commerce platform. These platforms give you plenty of flexibility to host your store wherever you like, and the ability to alter its design and functionality in a plethora of ways
● Are you feeling the pinch after booking your round-the-world flight? I think yes! Hosted e-commerce sites are super easy to use and perfect if you’re new to the business. Shopify is just one example of a platform which is quick and easy to set up and run when you’re on the go: you can run it on your mobile, and it integrates with both social media and dropshipping (mostly killing three birds with one stone)
● Establishing yourself on marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy is a cost-effective choice. These sites take a tiny percentage of revenue generated, and signing up is completely free
● Peer to peer selling through Gumtree is also an excellent choice if you’d like to keep things casual and you can even get customers to pick up the goods from your home, rather than post them yourself
● Selling products through social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest can also work well by incorporating a click-through link to your online store on a photo of a particular product. Social media is a powerful selling tool these days, and it’s free to set up an account – perfect for a budget traveler!
How To Get Your Brand Heard
There’s no shortage of online stores out there, but getting yourself heard is a lot simpler than you might think. Establishing yourself online is a sure-fire way to cut through the noise and keep the money coming in to continue your travels. Here’s how:
● Be clear: rustle up a marketing plan – and stick to it! You need to be asking yourself questions like: ‘Who is my target market and where do they hang out online?’ and ‘What kinds of content would appeal to them the most?’
● Social media should be your best friend. It’s no secret that social media is a powerful selling tool, and numbers of online users are increasing on most platforms. You need to go digital and be where your customers are, and this is easy to do from anywhere in the world
● Make the most of the beautiful (free) scenery around you on your travels. Set up promotional photo shoots in the most stunning location you can think of – all you need is a backdrop and a camera. ShopEasyTiger, a festival clothing store, is a brand who have figured out how to travel and make money at the same time.
The name post photos were taken while sourcing stock in Asia. These pictures go viral amongst their fanbase of young twenty-something festival goers on Instagram and Tumblr, which gives the products, even more, exposure.
There was a lot to digest here! Making money while traveling has never been so easy – jump on the bandwagon by following this advice. In case you were in a hurry, here are the general points:
● Hold up before you quit the day job – you need to spend a little time working out how to travel and make money before you make any rash decisions
● Answer these three questions first – What will you sell? How will you sell it? How will you get yourself heard online? You really should be able to answer these to help you get to grips with how you could get paid to travel.
● Get to grips with social media and make your camera your best friend to advertise your unique products
Good luck with your little venture and bon voyage!
What have you learned about earning money while traveling? Will you set up your online store? Let us know in the comments and share to us your secrets on how to get paid to travel.
Patrick is a freelance writer and contributor to multiple marketing and ecommerce blogs. He is passionate about business, start-ups and all things social.